Inspired by jafe's Double feature series.

The following is a hybrid Star Battle and diagramless cryptic crossword. Solve the clues and the grid, then place the clued words in the grid in a logical manner.


Rules of Star Battle1

  • Place some stars in the grid.
  • Each row, column, and bold region must contain the indicated number of stars.
  • Stars cannot be adjacent to one other, not even diagonally.

African's bottomless jug (3)
Hidden in India's eastern expanse (3)
Garden's new need (4)
Angrily gore monster (4)
Some rude gestures lead to discharge (5)
Brexit voter does not have a grip (5)
Number appearing around five? (5)
Sit near Ann - oddly harsh (5)
Suffer from unending smile the day before Christmas (6)
Vast quantities of cane - so weird (6)
Gangster Roger cut off both feet before cooperating (7)
Ballpark officer? (7)
Ahead of stream's return, we game (8)

1 Paraphrased from the original rules on Grandmaster Puzzles

  • $\begingroup$ Hm, I've got all the clues but the second and the last three, and I've solved the Star Battle, but I don't see a reasonable way to fit the clues into the grid yet. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Oct 26 '19 at 22:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm in a similar position except that I have the last one and a conjecture (about which I am slightly uncomfortable) for the second-to-last. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Oct 26 '19 at 22:15

Star Battle solution

The first few steps:

The five-cell region must have a star in the top left cell. That then places a star in the central region as well. We can also rule out some cells near the bottom left because they'll remove too much of the lower left region; additionally, row 8's two stars must be both in the flat region.

enter image description here

More progress:

Rows 1 and 4 are only in the P and S regions. They must have 4 stars total, so all the stars from the P and S regions must be in those two rows.

Then, the sixth row and fifth row can be completed, since there's only one place their stars can go.

enter image description here

A bit more progress:

The eighth row can be completed, and then the lower left region needs to have the other star in the ninth row.

The sixth column is full except for two spaces, which must have stars.

The second column must have one star in rows 1-2, and one star in rows 3-4; no stars can go in the first or third columns in those rows.
enter image description here

Finishing off the puzzle:

The third column, then the fourth column, then the first row, then the second column, can all be completed. The rest of the puzzle resolves with relatively simple deductions.
enter image description here

Cryptic solution

The answers to the cryptic clues:

enter image description here


To assemble the grid, notice that there are:

a suspiciously large amount of Es in the answer phrases.

This means that

the words can be assembled so that the Es are exactly in the locations of the stars.

Here's how to do it:

enter image description here
OCEANS only goes in one place. After that, SEA can be placed, and the word to the left must be EDEN or SEVEN. Either way, this needs to connect to the rest of the grid with a vertical word through the two Es in column 5. The remaining words can be placed through similar logic.

  • $\begingroup$ All correct, congrats! $\endgroup$
    – HTM
    Oct 26 '19 at 23:24

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